Dick Wolfsie: Shell shocked

Dick Wolfsie

The neighbors are beginning to talk. Kim said her husband Ken was wondering who the weird guy was standing on the shore of the neighborhood pond every day, whistling. Several others had seen and heard this, as well, from their backyard decks.

“I think he’s harmless, but he is technically trespassing,” said Eric.

“If this continues, maybe we should call the police,” Paul said.

I was utterly opposed to getting law enforcement involved for three reasons:

1: Whistling is not hurting anyone;

2: Whistling is not against the law; and

3: I am the whistler.

Yes, it’s true. Every day at 5:30 p.m., I wander down the hill to the pond in our community and with a cacophony of whistles I summon my turtle friend to come to the shore for a sprinkling of turtle food—a smorgasbord of insects, mealworms, river shrimp, fish eggs and protein nuggets. He is always ready and wading.

His name is Buster. He’s a red-eared slider about the size of a personal pizza. I named him after my favorite silent movie star, since he is just as quiet. You may recall from a previous column that I found the turtle crossing the road on a main thoroughfare near my house. I rescued him (assuming that’s what he wanted) and deposited him in our neighborhood pond. He disappeared for a while, laying low, I guess you could say, but now he’s back up, along with a healthy appetite.

Turtles are awesome pets. I don’t have to walk him (so, better than a dog); he comes when I call (so, better than a cat); and he is not venomous (so, better than some snakes). And he doesn’t make off-color remarks (so, better than a parrot).

Every time I go to the pond, I record cell phone video of my meeting with Buster. I now have about two hours of footage with 40 segments that are virtually identical to each other. When he hears my whistle, his head pops up, his head goes down, he moves closer to shore. Rinse, repeat. He gobbles up the food, then he’s gone. If any of these videos ever won an award, it would be for Best Nature Film with No Sound, No Plot, No Predator-Prey Chase.

I look forward to this encounter every day. Honestly, Buster doesn’t need my help with his daily sustenance. His species has survived 250 million years without pre-packaged turtle food and some crazy human whistling at them (while at the same time freaking out the neighbors). Buster may move on some day. Turtles tend to relocate, always looking for partners to propagate the species. He won’t have much luck in the romance department if he stays in our pond. On the other hand, Buster may have more than a few years on him, with his amorous escapades 40 years in his past. But if he does someday search for new digs, I will miss him.

I know he’s a turtle, but I wish him Godspeed!

NOTE: If you want to see the video of Buster, it’s on my Facebook page.